Meet the Panelists
For the first time ever, a distinguished panel of eight jury members will select their favorite film of the festival for the “Juried Prize”.
Pamela A. Aguilar
Pamela A. Aguilar is Senior Director of Programming and Development for PBS. In this role she identifies, develops and oversees the production of original content and acquisitions for PBS Primetime in the genres of science, history, natural history, culture, and independent film. She works closely with Executive Producers of PBS’ documentary series POV, Independent Lens and LPB’s VOCES as well as national content producing member stations like WGBH, WNET and TPT, and co-producing partners like NHNZ, VOX and the BBC.
Prior to joining PBS, Aguilar worked as a writer, producer, director and executive producer creating innovative content on race relations, education, social justice, pop-culture and health. Some of her credits include, America by the Numbers, about the impact of America’s changing demographics, The Graduates/Los Graduados, about the high school dropout crisis, and Between Two Plates, a satirical telenovela she created, on healthy eating. Early on, she began her career in TV commercial production where she worked on top brand named client advertising and marketing campaigns. She’s a graduate of The New School University in New York and hails from the Golden State of California.
Eric is a Producer/Editor for American Experience, PBS’s flagship history series, based at WGBH in Boston. He has earned credits on over 100 hours of public television content since 2010.
Eric has worked in post-production for a decade with experience in advertising, independent documentaries, and broadcast television. Since 2008, he has edited three documentary features; These films premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the TIFF, and Viennale. His short films have screened at numerous U.S. festivals. In 2012, Eric co-founded The Non-Fiction Cartel, a working collaborative whose purpose is to create, support, and enhance documentary media making in the New England area.
Michael Kantor joined American Masters as the series’ executive producer in April 2014 during its 28th season on PBS, and founded its theatrical imprint American Masters Pictures in January 2016. American Masters Pictures was represented by three films at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival: Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise and Richard Linklater – Dream is Destiny. An Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, Kantor has worked on projects for PBS, HBO, Bravo and 20th Century Fox.
His PBS series include Broadway: The American Musical (hosted by Julie Andrews), Make ‘Em Laugh (hosted by Billy Crystal) and Superheroes (hosted by Liev Schreiber). Kantor also wrote, directed and produced the award-winning profile American Masters: Quincy Jones: In the Pocket and served as executive producer of Give Me the Banjo with Steve Martin. He is president of Almo Inc., a company that distributes the American Film Theatre series, including Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance, starring Katharine Hepburn, and Chekhov’s Three Sisters with Laurence Olivier. Kantor has co-authored three books, served as a Tony nominator, and taught producing at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
Simon Kilmurry is the executive director of the International Documentary Association (IDA). He joined IDA in June 2015 and oversees all IDA programs and operations, including filmmaker services, educational programs the IDA Awards, and advocacy for the field.
In 2016, Kilmurry joined the board of jurors of the George Foster Peabody Awards and he serves on the board of screeners of the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards and the George Polk Awards. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
Prior to joining IDA he served from 1999–2015 in various roles at American Documentary | POV, including nine years as the executive producer of POV, the long-running PBS showcase of independent documentaries. As executive producer he received17 Emmy Awards, more than 60 Emmy nominations, six George Foster Peabody Awards, four Du Pont Columbia Awards, and is a two-time recipient of the Best Continuing Series Award from the International Documentary Association. He also served as chief executive of American Documentary (AmDoc), POV’s non-profit parent organization.
While serving as executive director of AmDoc he oversaw all programs, including production and programming, POV digital, community engagement and development, and developed America ReFramed, an award-winning documentary series on the WORLD Channel.
Mike Sargent is a Filmmaker with over 20 years of professional experience in film, television and radio. His writing and directing debut feature film, Personals (aka Hook'd Up) starred Malik Yoba, Stacey Dash and the film debut of comedian Jim Gaffigan. Personals was the opening night film at the Los Angeles’ Pan African Film Festival in 1999. The L.A. Times called the film “both entertaining and provocative.” The film was distributed theatrically in 2000-2001 by the independent urban film distributor FILMLIFE/BFFA.
Sargent is also a nationally quoted film critic and a founding member of the Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC). BFCC holds the distinction of being the only organization developed by and catering to the needs of African American media professionals who critique movies and cover the film industry.
Mike Sargent is currently chief Film Critic for WBAI RADIO’s weekly daytime film review program, ReelWorld, and host of WBAI’s popular late night radio show, Niteshift.
Mike was also the creator and host of Arise On Screen, Arise Networks weekly global movie review & interview show (2014-15), and was the first African-American hosted film review television show ever.
Presently Mike is in post-production on Bad Boys: A Documentary, a film that examines why women and society in general are in love with bad boys throughout history.
Nina Gilden Seavey
Nina Gilden Seavey is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and a nearly 30-year veteran of the documentary world. Her films can be seen in theaters, on television, in ancillary media, and in museum exhibitions across the globe.
Seavey is the director of The Documentary Center in the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University, which she founded in 1990. In 2002, she became the Founding Director of SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival (now AFI Docs). Seavey is also the co-director of the Center for Innovative Media at GW. She holds the academic rank of Research Professor of History and Media and Public Affairs. In 2012 she was named one of the top 50 journalism professors in the U.S. For the 2017-2018 academic year, she has been appointed as a Visiting Research Scholar at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.
Seavey’s films have appeared in domestic and international festivals and have won numerous awards including 5 National Emmy nominations (one statue awarded), the Erik Barnouw Prize for Best Historical Film of the Year, The Golden Hugo, Cine Special Jury Prize, The Italian National Olympic Cup for Best Sports Film, among many others.
Judith Vecchione works at WGBH, Boston’s public media station, where she has contributed to major documentary series.
She has been executive producer for many national PBS special series, including Americas, De Gaulle and France, and Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues; and for specials such as Eleanor Roosevelt (American Experience), Young & Restless in China (Frontline), Fire Wars (NOVA), and The Longoria Affair.
Her series Medal Quest: American Athletes and the Paralympic Games was PBS’s first digital-original series for general audiences. She followed that success with ICE WARRIORS: USA Sled Hockey, which profiled the tough road to ice sled hockey gold at the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games; after its national PBS premiere, the program was picked up by NBC Sports Network.
Ms. Vecchione has won multiple awards, including a national Emmy for her work on Vietnam: A Television History, and she was series senior producer for the award-winning series Eyes on the Prize. Other awards include the Peabody Award, Davey Award, CINE Golden Eagle, Christopher Spirit Award, Savannah Film Festival “Best in Festival,” Imagen Award, and Chicago Film Festival award, among others.
Her current work includes an on-going role as senior editorial advisor to public media’s WORLD Channel; efforts to develop a major multi-platform project on America’s diabetes epidemic; and continuing work as executive director of Next Generation Leadership, training new and diverse senior editorial staff for public media.
Adnaan Wasey is an Emmy Award-winning executive producer and the recent head of POV Digital, the new media production division of the long-running PBS documentary series POV. At POV, Adnaan oversaw original digital productions and partnerships and supported bold new creative ventures as founder of POV's digital content lab.
Adnaan is a member of the Producers Guild of America and a former news editor who has contributed to some of the nation's most prestigious news and information brands, including PBS NewsHour and WNYC.